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Life Lessons: Art therapy

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 17 2014 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life Lessons Art therapy

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

What if something as simple as drawing a picture could make you feel better?

Art therapists say this form of expression can help people with a range of issues.

Marie Mauro is a board certified registered art therapist and a licensed counselor with a private practice in Bethlehem.

"I would define it as the combination of psychology and art," explains Mauro.

She says art and emotion have a tangible connection and this form of therapy can be used to help people uncover their feelings and then explore them.

Mauro uses many mediums including modeling clay, painting and pastels.

She says art therapy works well with just about all ages and many issues, including depression, anxiety and trauma.

"It is particularly good for trauma because oftentimes with trauma we're not able to verbalize our feelings."

Do you have to be an artist?

Absolutely not. Mauro says it's sometimes better if you're not.

"What I tell people is that if you're not an artist, it's actually easier for me to work with you because your art is more raw, it's more honest."

While art therapy seems simple, Mauro says it absolutely isn't and therapists need the right training to do art therapy with patients.

"It is very powerful but it can be dangerous to tap into something so powerful before the person is ready, so it's important for the therapist to have the training."

Art therapy has been around since the 1940s and is used today in many settings including hospitals, nursing homes and community outreach programs.